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Boundless town

This year, the ancient town of Hoi An has become the first city in Vietnam and also in Southeast Asia that is entirely covered with free wireless Internet service.

Hoi An is a must-come destination in central Vietnam. The town is not large and it is not the oldest or most special in Asia and the world but it enchants many visitors. Why?

The atmosphere in Hoi An is the atmosphere of festivities, all the year round. Small streets, small roads, small shops, people strolling, quiet space …, all contribute to creating a special Hoi An. Even the daily life of local residents is worthy to see. Hoi An is a town of professional tourism.

After the Lunar New Year, tourists flocked to the ancient town. Some complaints appeared on the Internet, mentioning troubles that they had to suffer from the scramble of tourist agents, from traders who charged high prices on tourists, etc.

The small, quiet town was in turmoil. Local people got indignant because their common prestige was affected. The authorities immediately took tough measures to reject tourist agents and bad phenomena. The city’s response was highly appreciated. Hoi An turned a small “incident” into a chance to advertise itself.

In March 2011, the earthquake-tsunami disaster in Japan shook the world. The earth seemed to be boundless. The humankind was closer to look to and assist Japanese people together.

Hoi An’s first response was organizing a lantern releasing ceremony on the Hoai River to commemorate Japanese victims, which drew the participation of people of different nationalities.

The quick, meaningful and touching action was broadcasted on world famous TV channels like CNN, BBC, CCTV, NHK, etc. as a humane message to call for the world’s sharing and assistance to Japanese victims. Through which, Hoi An self advertised it as a beautiful and compassionate place.

Wireless Hoi An

Early this year, Hoi An once again drew public attention when it became the first city in Vietnam and in Southeast Asia to offer free wireless iInternet in the whole city.

Le Manh Hung, director of the Vietnam Data Center 3 (VDC3), by the end of 2012, equipment would be installed completely in Hoi An and Cu Lao Cham Islet. At present, 50 out of the total 350 free wireless iInternet spots have been installed in central Hoi An.

With the free service, tourists can surf web and check mail everywhere in the ancient town. If they want to use high speed Internet to listen to music and watch movies, they have to use iInternet cards supplied by the Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT).

After the first phase, VDC 3 will implement the second phase of the project to bring wireless iInternet to the remaining area in Hoi An and the surrounding area.

The iInternet came to Hoi An very early. In 1997-1998, Hoi An people used iInternet as a tool of commercial connection. This is the first location in the country that licensed iInternet cafes to serve tourists. Dozens of tailor’s shops, lantern shops, souvenir shops etc. sold their products online, earning tens of thousands of USD a month.

Photographer Thai Tuan Kiet, a member of the Hoi An Photographers’ Club, said that doing business and tourism is tradition of Hoi An people. All families that are involved in trade and tourism use the iInternet. The Hoi An Photographers’ Club also uses the iInternet as an effective tool to sell photos.

Le Ngoc Hao, business manager of the YaLy Cloth Shop at 47 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Hoi An, said that three branches of YaLy in Hoi An have nearly 500 employees. These shops serve thousands of customers each day, mainly foreigners. These customers know about Hoi An’s quick-service tailor’s shops through the iInternet.

Hoi An’s Party Secretary Nguyen Su said that the local authorities began using the iInternet in 1997 and also the local residents. Doing business has become “an instinct” of Hoi An people. The iInternet is the means of effective business and communications of the locals.

In its 400-year history, Hoi An has always been an open town, which knows how to advertise itself to the world and how to learn modern science and technology from the world.

Socially, thanks to the iInternet, both the local government and local people have sufficient information and have opportunity to adjust themselves or explain “misunderstanding” about the town. This is a proof for Hoi An’s integration in the modern time.

Huynh Van Son, a trader on Tran Phu street, is proud of his wireless iInternet city. “Hoi An has been successful in implementing important policies: it is the city without open-air power grid, no outdoor television antennas, no motorbike in ancient streets, no sensitive services, etc. Hoi An is also the city of free wireless iInternet,” he sai.

Walking through the national forest of Cuc Phuong in the North (02days/01nights)

Walking through the national forest of Cuc Phuong in the North (02days/01nights)

Highlight of Tour: See the tropical forest in Vietnam with many kind of trees, of birds, of butterflies
Day 01: Hanoi-Cuc Phuong (B,L,D)
You’ll depart from Hanoi to Cuc Phuong National Park, an area of limestone cliffs and wild, tropical forest 160km to the South of Hanoi. Upon arrival, visit the Endangered Primate Rescue Center and the Botanic Garden, where visitors can see some of the 1,880 species of flora that exist in the park. Then continue to walk through the forest & through giant trees, some of which are over 1,000 years old. Back to Cuc Phuong center for overnight.
Day 02: Cuc Phuong-Hoa Lu-Hanoi (B,L)
Morning, drive to Hoa Lu, one of the ancient capitals of Vietnam. Enjoy the gorgeous limestone karsts and rolling green fields, which gave the area the nickname “Ha Long Bay of the rice paddies” as you explore 10th Century Dinh and Le Dynasty relics. Then you will climb aboard a tiny boat for a peaceful cruise up the river to Tam Coc, the “three lagoons”. Then transfer back to Hanoi.
End of Services,
B: Breakfast, L: Lunch; D: Diner

Floating market in the heart of Saigon

Very few people know that there is still a floating market named Tran Van Kieu remaining in Saigon. The market helps keeping the beauty of a city of river area.
The floating market is situated on the Canal Tau Hu - Ben Nghe in district 6, Saigon. Before the East – West Highway was completed, the market was located at the pier/abutment of Lo Gom bridge on the Canal Tau Hu - Ben Nghe. However, since this most beautiful avenue of Ho Chi Minh City was put into operation, the floating market has been moved deeply into the narrow canal called Lo Gom. The trading activities on the boats are not as busy as it was used to.
Per chasing goods in the market are mainly kinds of fruits such as watermelon, pumpkin, grapefruit …ect, was taken from the west orchard through the Vam Co river to Saigon. The buyers are mostly shop men and the vendors/peddlers. As the boats are landed, the buyers will busily come to take goods and fruits will be delivered to many retail markets, fruit stalls, into every streets or alleyways of Saigon.
The market’s activities often takes place in the early morning from 4 Am  to 7 or 8 Am, sometimes in the afternoon when the water up, the boats are also gathered but with small quantities and of course the fruits are not as fresh as in the morning.
Normally, on the days reaching fullmoon, or first day of the lunar month, more boats are gathered in the markets, sometimes, the number of boats is up to 50 -60 ones. However, this floating market is more and more narrowed. Some of boat owners must move to smaller canals in faraway districts such as district 2,12, Cu Chi for trading. Many buyers fear that the rivers of Saigon no longer have rooms for such boats to gather.
Let’s visit the Floating market through some nice pictures, maybe this will be one of the final photos about the last floating market of Saigon.

One shop woman is moving bananas from boats to the small trolleys for retail trading.
A seller also gets up early to cook Hu Tieu (noodle soup ) for guests in the market.

The boats full of  fruit bags from the  west area.

Anchored the boat to the shore.

Selling for shopmen . 

Such nananas trolleys will appear on every streets of Saigon.

People gather on the riverside.

One of the boats in the market…

the pier of Lo Gom Bridge,at which people gather the market.

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